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pesto genovese

Best Freezer Meals: Make and Freeze Pesto Genovese Sauce

freezing pesto genovese

This recipe is inspired by the Recipe Redux Challenge for this month. If you follow the blog (you can do so here if you wish) on the 22nd of each month a bunch of dietitian foodies publish healthy and tasty recipes together on the same day, using the same theme. This recipe is dedicated to a friend who shared my first experience of making Pesto Genovese -(the authentic version)-served with linguine and potatoes! It was a meal to remember.

This month’s Recipe Redux theme is tips and tricks for making one or more freezer meals. My fellow dietitians have fantastic ideas for freezer meals, so take a look at their recipes below. And today is the first day of Fall, a perfect theme to use those last garden vegetables, fruits or herbs to stock up the freezer. If you have a lot of basil still growing in your herb garden, making Pesto Genovese is the perfect sauce to make for your freezer. Think of how you will bring back the taste of summer by serving this pesto on a cold winter’s night. Oh I miss summer already.

A Pesto Genovese Sauce for A Celebrated Genovese Dish

My top favorite freezer meal/sauce/item is homemade pesto, (but lasagna comes a close second-and you?). Not only is pesto easy to make, but it freezes well because the olive oil in the sauce protects the herb from the frigid temperatures and icy freezer burn. My tip for this month is how to make small portions of pesto to pull the quantity you need out of the freezer and have it thawed out and ready to use in less than a half hour. And what is the best way to use this Pesto Genovese?

freezing pesto genovese

Pesto is delicious on pizza, in soups, as a dip for vegetables, on toasted pieces of crostini. But pesto is fabulous as the sauce to make your own Pesto Genovese served on flat noodles Ligurian style. And this version from Liguria is even healthier than the ‘normal’ pesto on pasta because this authentic style dish includes potatoes and green beans, just like they eat it in this precious region of Italy.

Some history behind Pesto Genovese

Basil is always used as the main ingredient in Pesto Genovese. In Liguria, where Pesto Genovese originates, the basil used comes from the land in the region.

The word Pesto comes from the Italian verb Pestare (to pound). Traditionally, and for the best taste, pesto is made in a mortar. In America and in other places in the world, we normally think of pesto served with linguine, but in Liguria, pesto is served with testaroli, which are flat noodles. The sauce needs to cling onto a pasta, which is why some type of flat noodle is used for the sauce. The authentic version is served with trenette and this is made with green beans and boiled potatoes, just as I made it for this article.

For more (very) interesting reading, check out additional Pesto Genovese history from this article, “Pesto Genovese: an Ageless Benchmark of Great Italian Cuisine.”

freezing pesto genovese

Genoa Style Pesto Sauce: Make and Freeze Pesto Genovese


  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, washed and dried.
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half.
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts or chopped walnuts.
  • 1/2 cup of grated (from fresh) Parmesan Cheese.
  • pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • one chef (or mini chef like my daughter in the picture).

freezing pesto genovese


(For the best taste, this Pesto Genovese sauce is made in a mortar. I have included instructions on making this with a food processor, as that is how I made it).

  • Place garlic cloves in food processor and pulse several times to mince them.
  • Add the basil leaves and pine or walnuts to the garlic cloves. Pulse until the sauce is chopped /mixed well. Open food processor and with a spatula, get all the sauce off the sides and back into the sauce.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese to the basil mixture and pulse again several times. Add the pinch of salt and pepper.
  • With the food processor running, slowly add the oil thru the top opening making sure the sauce doesn’t get too mixed and thin (Pesto Genovese should have some texture to it).
  • Open up the food processor and scrap down the sides to make sauce homogenous.
  • Mix again. Taste for seasonings.
  • Now it is ready for the freezer.

freezing pesto genovese

Freezer ready:

  • Get a muffin tin ready (ideally a silicon tin).
  • Fill Pesto Genovese into each muffin space, about half way full.freezing pesto genovese
  • Cover with saran wrap and place flat in freezer for about 2 hours.freezing pesto genovese
  • Remove muffin tin from freezer and carefully remove the pesto from each tin to be placed into a labeled clean ziploc bag.freezing pesto genovese
  • Place bag in freezer laying it flat.
  • Keeps in freezer for up to 6 months to one year (for the best taste).

A Pesto Genovese Sauce for A Genovese Style Dish

When ready to make your Pesto Genovese dish, you will additionally need:

  • 1 pound of good quality linguine or flat Italian noodles like trenette
  • 3 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slicesfreezing pesto genovese
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen green beans


  • Take out about 4 portions of pesto from the freezer. Put them in a small bowl to thaw out.freezing pesto genovese
  • Heat up large pot of water for cooking linguine. Add a large pinch of salt.
  • When water is boiling, add the potatoes. Allow potatoes to cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add the linguine to the potato water, timing the pasta well to come out al dente.
  • Halfway thru cooking the linguine, add the green beans to the pasta pot.
  • When the linguine is cooked, drain the pasta, potatoes and green beans. Put this mixture into a large serving pot or back into the pasta pot and add the pesto sauce.
  • Mix pesto well into the linguine, adjust for seasonings and add a dash of olive oil to linguine if needed.
  • Serve immediately with optional Parmesan cheese offered at the table.
  • Buon Appetito!pesto genovese

I hope you enjoy this month’s Recipe Redux freezer meals theme. If you have reached the end and want to see more recipes like this, you can subscribe to BrightonYourHealth monthly newsletter and article updates by clicking on the button below. Your email will always remain private.

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Warmly, Mary

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2 Responses to Best Freezer Meals: Make and Freeze Pesto Genovese Sauce

  1. Serena September 26, 2015 at 17:23 #

    What a great idea to freeze sauce in muffin tins! I love the idea of the sauce with potatoes…of which I have many from my garden!

  2. corina September 24, 2015 at 11:18 #

    I love traditional pesto like this but I’d never thought to freeze it. I will next time!
    corina recently posted..Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew

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